Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wouldn't you like to be Stephon Marbury?

Question: If you could live the life of any athlete right now, whose would you choose?

Obviously, there's Tiger Woods. Dude makes yacht-loads of money, has a gorgeous wife and, oh yeah, is well on his way to becoming the best golfer of all time. But we're talking about today, and at this moment Woods can't even hit the Big Dog.

No, being Tiger right now isn't the ideal situation.

OK, how about LeBron James? Dude's one of the best two players in the NBA, is so loved by fans that the folks in Morose Minnesota gave him a standing ovation Wednesday, and he's quickly becoming a global icon. As an added bonus, you get to be boys with Stephen Curry.

Not bad, but LeBron continues to carry a heavy load for the Cavs. At this time of year, I'd prefer a little R & R.

Well, it is the baseball offseason, correct? Players don't have to report for two months. So being C.C. Sabathia would be tight, right?

Except that it wouldn't. C.C.'s going to be under such intense scrutiny next season, he's probably already hitting the treadmill two hours a day to try to trim that stout frame for the New York media hounds. Don't want them blaming your girth when you lose a game in April.

So forget about CC. Mo money, mo problems.

Except, however, when you're talking about Stephon Marbury. Yep, out of all the great players in the sports universe today — the Woodses, the Federers, the Kobes, the Peytons, the A-Rods and the Phelpses — none of them have a better life than Marbury.

Technically, Marbury is still a member of the New York Knicks. In fact, he was at their game Tuesday night against the Lakers. Only thing was, his bottom was plastered to a court-side seat at Staples Center alongside the likes of Jack Nicholson and the rest of Los Angeles' finest.

Marbury, sporting a hot-looking black leather coat, watched a tad of the game, did some texting and talking on his mobile device, and even conducted an interview with reporters during halftime. When he said, memorably, "I'm still earning my check by doing nothing. I'm staying in shape. My mindset is to enjoy my life."

In truth, Marbury is doing nothing. For all intents and purposes, he's unemployed — only his unemployed compensation for this NBA season is $21 million. And while I'm happy that he's staying in shape and enjoying life, he must be corrected on this: he is not earning that rather hefty paycheck. Not in any way.

But please don't blame Marbury. Seriously — the man's doing nothing wrong. It's obvious that New York coach Mike D'Antoni wants nothing to do with the point guard, and after a couple failed attempts at getting him to enter a game from the bench, their relationship was over.

After a fractured meeting with team president Donnie Walsh, Marbury was banned from all Knicks games and practices. In fact, he had to make sure that it was OK for him to attend Tuesday's contest in L.A. since it involved his, eh, team. (And it was fine; no violation.)

Such is the life of the 31-year-old from Brooklyn. I mean, just consider this for a moment. A kid like Marbury, who grew up dirt poor with nothing but a dream. Now he's getting paid a fortune, a life's salary, to do absolutely nothing. Life couldn't be grander, right?

Well, Marbury is actually handling this correctly. While he said he can't wait to be freed from his contract, which expires after the season, he has no plans of bailing out the Knicks for their woeful financial decisions (on a side note, Walsh must be loving Isiah Thomas right now).

And why should he? They agreed to pay him a certain sum of money. Now they want nothing to do with him. He owes them nothing, and I doubt he thinks very highly of the franchise.

Marbury said another NBA team has expressed interest in him. If so, and if he gets a new contract after the season, good for him — and maybe good for that team, as long as they are very careful not to pull an Isiah and do some deadly overspending.

Heck, maybe after a year of free millions, Magnanimous Marbury will make an appearance and agree to pay for a small salary.

Or maybe not.

But back to the question...

Come June, I'd like to be Tiger; he'll be hitting the Big Dog with regularity.

But at this moment, no athlete's life is better than Stephon Marbury's.

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